Interview by: JJ Posway
Built off the back of 2010’s New Chain and 2009’s self-titled EP, Limits of Desire is a crystallization of Small Black‘s gorgeous synth-pop sound. Together the four piece, Josh Hayden Kolenik (keys, vocals), Ryan Heyner (guitar, keys, vocals), Juan Pieczanski (bass, guitar) and Jeff Curtin (drums, percussion) have moved past the hazy, bedroom-recorded feel of their previous releases with a refined sound that pares back embellishments, trading dense layers for space and clarity of vision. The band’s heading to Atlanta and we got a chance to talk to lead singer Josh Kolenik about secret gallery shows, crews of raccoons and swamp boats. Check it out!
What has been your most memorable gig thus far?
We co-curated an art exhibition based around the release of Limits of Desire at a gallery in Brooklyn called 7 Dunham in May. Played a secret show in the back room of the gallery with a light installation from BK artist Dan Baker. Couldn’t have been a better way to introduce folks to the new music.
Who came up with the name Small Black and where does it come from?
I was living in a little house in Portland, Oregon a few years back. A crew of raccoons also were living there – albeit in the attic up above. We would see them and hear them running over our heads as we slept. A few of them gained names. One was Small Black. He seemed to be quite relentless and I find that to be a necessary part of making music, so the name was fitting.
Congratulations on Limits of Desire! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
We spent a year in our Brooklyn home 222 working on it. It’s our look at love and relationships through the sonic palette we spent the time in the studio developing. It’s the first record we’ve used guitars and live drums on as well, so it feels locked in with our live performances.
What excites you most about touring?
Food! We’re always hunting for the best spots to eats on the road and in between sound check and the show. That and the chance to meet our fans in person.
Name 3 bands/artists that inspire the band musically.
The Blue Nile, Robyn, Talk Talk
If you could play at any venue with any band/artist, where would you play and who would you play with?
With Neil Young on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Baja California.
Where do you see the band 5 years down the road?
On a swamp boat in the Everglades, drinking whiskey sunrises and hanging at the studio.
Small Black will be at The Drunken Unicorn 11/13 with Eternal Summers. Doors open at 9pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Online and phone sales end at 4pm the day of show.